MI skipper Rohit Sharma struck a discordant note in the post-match chat, “Not enough runs, exactly. I still feel it’s not a bad wicket to bat on. You can see how Kings won with nine wickets in hand. If you get 150-160 you’re always in the game and that is something we’ve failed in the last two games, we need to look at that.
He added: “Ishan was tyring to hit but couldn’t get it, even myself. We were trying but the wicket wasn’t easy. In the last four games we really batted well in the powerplay but today we failed to do so. We’re missing batting all 20 overs the way we want to. Something we need to look at.”
Indeed, the contrast between MI we saw in IPL 2020 and the one we have seen thus far in IPL 2021 could not have been more jarring.
Last season, the MI batsmen were unstoppable as a unit. If Kieron Pollard didn’t get you, then Hardik Pandya would. If Hardik Pandya wouldn’t get you, then Ishan Kishan would. If Ishan Kishan wouldn’t get you, then Suryakumar Yadav would. And then, there was Quinton de Kock at the top of the order, in terrific form.
But this year, in admittedly difficult conditions in Chennai, only two MI batsmen have faced more than 100 balls this season. Only three (including Chris Lynn who isn’t part of the playing XI anymore) have a strike-rate of over 130 and of the much-vaunted middle to lower order, only Kieron Pollard is averaging over 20.
IPL 2021 - MI batting numbers
|Q de Kock||4||4||47||40||11.75||87.03|
Back when the IPL 2020 season started, few would have expected Ishan Kishan to be the tournament’s leading six-hitter. That the Mumbai Indians batsman hit 30 sixes in IPL 2020 will go down as arguably the most jaw-dropping individual statistic of the season that produced many jaw-dropping moments and matches.
But this year, Kishan’s strike-rate so far is 82.95 and his lack of form has thrown a spanner in the works for Rohit’s team. They simply are not carrying enough momentum into the death overs.
And because batting has got more difficult in the second half of the innings, the sixes haven’t flowed as frequently for the team either.
In the top 10 six-hitters list from IPL 2020, there were five Mumbai Indians players and they hit a phenomenal 118 sixes among them. This year, they have one (Rohit Sharma) batsman among the top-20 six-hitters.
IPL 2020 - MI batting numbers
|Q de Kock||16||16||503||78*||35.92||140.50|
As Rohit Sharma has already mentioned several times this season, MI have just not batted well enough. The conditions in Chennai haven’t been great for batting but given the experience and class that the champions possess in their line-up, the team management would have expected better.
Last year, they did not have the leading run-scorer or wicket-taker but MI delivered a masterclass in tournament play to clinch their fifth title. This year, they have simply not clicked as a batting unit.
The three losses in Chennai will have hit MI hard but at the same time, they will be happy to be done with this leg. They now move to Delhi for the next four matches, before shifting base to Bengaluru for three games and then playing a couple of games in Kolkata.
The middle order, in particular, will hope the pitches in Delhi will allow them to hit through the line of the ball. Their invaluable ability has been to hit with reckless abandon but in Chennai, they needed to pick and choose and even after five games, they simply couldn’t adjust.
Mumbai know they have the ability to stage a comeback at any stage but they would rather not leave it too late this season.
IPL 2021 point table after PBKS vs MI
|Royal Challengers Bangalore||4||4||0||+1.009||8|
|Chennai Super Kings||4||3||1||+1.142||6|
|Kolkata Knight Riders||4||1||3||-0.700||2|